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Women’s World Cup quarterfinal predictions

Clearly, I didn’t appreciate the European teams enough when I put together some predictions for the last round, I may or may not have learned from it. Here are my quarterfinal predictions…

Norway vs England

It’s been a strange tournament for Norway, they’ve not looked the business for a long time but the stars have at least aligned to get them to the last eight. The Football Girls have generally dealt well with – or found enough luck – to get through each of their first four matches mostly unscathed.

A “dark horse” for many coming into the tournament, it’s hard to say that England have lived up to the hype, but they’ve also racked up four wins from four, seeing off four very different opponents. With talk of a virus sweeping the camp, uncertainties over the defence and the suggestion that Phil Neville is rotating too much, possibly even unaware of his strongest starting XI, Norway could be England’s biggest test this summer.

For me, this is the hardest quarterfinal and could be a wash out OR go all the way to penalties. I still don’t trust the Norwegian defence and think England will nick it.

France vs USA

The quarterfinal people were talking about before the group stage was even over, the two favourites (depending on who you ask) will square off in Paris in a couple of days and opinion seems to be very split. France have yet to find consistency this tournament and the USA were given a little scare against Spain – as Les Bleues were against Brazil.

Historically a team that struggles in tournament, I haven’t seen anywhere near enough from France to think they’ll find a way beyond the ultra-confident US team.

Italy vs Netherlands

It seems unlikely that too many people could have predicted this quarterfinal before the tournament started but here we are. The Dutch haven’t been on a song but have reached the last eight for the first time in their history as Italy have navigated their first World Cup for 20 years with aplomb.

Although the team began to look leggy against China, I think they have enough in the bag to get through another 90 minutes and will be keen to assert themselves against a Dutch team that is yet to fully show up this summer. The match, played in Valenciennes, will pit the Azzurre against 11 Dutch players and what is likely to be a very loud, very orange crowd but I think Italy have what it takes to reach the last four.

Germany vs Sweden

It feels like we’ve seen this match before, countless times, and we have. Two teams who always seem destined to face each other at major tournaments, the history is very much with Germany.

Having lost to the Germans earlier this year, few are expecting the Swedes to come out and bring the match to Germany – Peter Gerhardsson’s team far from perfect this summer anyway. Although if feels like it’s time for Sweden to get one over on the Germans – who themselves have failed to live up to the billing this tournament – it’s hard to see how and where it will happen. The last quarterfinal to be played, it looks an awful lot like Germany will be the last team to book their spot in the semi-finals.

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